Grounded in Christian faith, Justin Tilghman’s North Carolina-based coaching practice serves clients internationally in one-on-one and group settings. We hope you are inspired by this interview!
Coaching Focus: Justin works with clients in 1:1 settings to help them gain clarity on who they are, what they want out of life, and ultimately how to make that happen. Focused on self-discovery, purpose, confidence, and resilience, his approach connects clients to themselves, God, and others for long-term, sustained growth and a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.
Location: North Carolina, USA
Tell us about your journey as a coach.
Before 2023, my life was a patchwork quilt of public service, higher education, and ministry. From EMS to disaster response, I was always the guy you’d find in the thick of human struggles. But despite the fulfillment, I battled intense anxiety and depression.
It was my ‘rock bottom’ season of severe anxiety and intense depression that led to a soul-searching quest for purpose. I truly believe God placed coaching, in a formal sense, in front of me during this period of time for a reason. Encouraged by mentors and inspired by resilience stories from the likes of Louis Zamperini and Lewis Howes, I took the plunge from “unofficial” coaching into formal coaching.
My first clients found me on a freelance website, and word-of-mouth did the rest. I was a newbie grappling with imposter syndrome, questioning my worth every time I charged a fee. But then, something incredible happened. Within months, I was coaching internationally, which was something I had never even dreamed of! It helped me to see that I did indeed have something to offer the world.
Today, just six months in, my calendar is fully booked. I’ve had moments where I’ve almost cried tears of joy, watching my clients have their ‘aha’ moments. It’s been a rollercoaster, but every high and low has been worth it. I’m not just a coach; I’m a witness to human transformation, and that’s the best job I could ever ask for.
What courses, programs, or certifications have you done? Would you recommend them, and for whom?
I have completed certifications as an Advanced Life Coach and Master Mental Health Coach through the International Board of Christian Care. I’ve also completed a relational spirituality coaching course with Dr. Todd Hall, one of the foremost psychologists in the area of attachment theory and relational spirituality. I would recommend all three of these to anyone who is looking to coach from a Christian perspective.
I also completed Certified Life Coach training through the Life Coach Training Institute. It is an excellent, no-frills coaching certification that can get people moving toward a thriving coaching practice very quickly.
What advice or perspective might you give to a new coach trying to get their first clients? Any advice they should ignore?
I would encourage them to just put themselves out there. Step up to the plate and let it rip! Coach your butt off.
Put out social media posts offering complimentary sessions in exchange for feedback and just coach until you can’t coach any more. The complimentary sessions will take the pressure off that typically comes with charging a client, and it will build your confidence as a coach. It will also help you to begin to clarify your niche.
Remember, you’re building a business and that takes time. Don’t expect to come out of the gate making 6 figures a year. Enjoy the process of building your practice and honing your craft!
What are your thoughts on “choosing a niche” as a coach?
Don’t let niching scare you. And if you don’t have a niche right now, that’s totally fine. Regardless of what others are telling you, you don’t have to have a niche when you first start out. Take time to coach as many individuals as you can.
The more you coach, the more clear your niche will become. You’ll start to realize where your strengths lie and what types of clients, and issues, you resonate with. So, in a nutshell, let your niche reveal itself gradually. Don’t let niching stand in the way of you getting out there and coaching!
What tools, software, or other resources have you found to be most helpful in running your coaching business?
I have been using Practice for my client management. I love it. It’s super simple to use, and their customer support is out of this world.
Editor’s Note: Check out our review of Practice to learn more about this amazing software for coaching business management.
I’ve also worked with the team at Intraawareness and their Confident Coach Blueprint program. Their easy-to-follow roadmap for building a coaching business has been fantastic and immensely helpful in setting my coaching practice on a firm foundation.
If you received an extra $10,000 to spend on your business, how would you spend it and why?
I would spend it on marketing and a virtual assistant. Marketing makes or breaks you as a coach. Having a virtual assistant really helps take some of the day-to-day processes off your plate, freeing up more time to focus on coaching and building your practice.
What are some of your favorite affirmations currently? Why?
“Your potential is God’s gift to you; how you use it is your gift back to Him.” This keeps me focused on why I do what I do.
“The quickest way to kill your joy and motivation is to compare yourself to another person.” This is so helpful for me as a coach. It’s very easy to get jealous of what other coaches are doing. But I need to focus on the path that has been laid out for me and not worry about someone else’s journey.
If you could put a message on a huge billboard—getting a message out to millions—what would it say and why?
“Think about all of the things you’re saying ‘yes’ to. What kind of future is that building for you? Do you like it? If not…start learning to say ‘no.’”
I love this message because so much of our lives are lived with little to no intentionality. We’re just going with the flow. Rather than waiting for life to happen to us, we need to be intentional about the life we’re building. We only get one, so make the most of it!